Mobile friendly design and mobile optimisation are to ensure that visitors who enter your website from mobile devices have a better experience, one that is optimised for their device.
Mobile is changing the way we interact and communicate. Today, more and more people own smartphones, regularly checking social media and emails, communicating with friends or work colleagues, searching for information and shopping on e-commerce websites. Every year people are spending more time on their mobile devices and tablets, but many websites are still not yet designed to accommodate different screen sizes and load time. Mobile optimisation explores site design, site structure, page speed, and more to ensure you are not inadvertently forcing mobile visitors away.
Why should a website be mobile friendly?
Mobile users often find desktops websites frustrating. The usability and ease of navigation on such websites can be affected by the smaller screen size of mobile devices and tablets. Mobile users often have to zoom in on a specific part of a page to be able to see it or read the text. Having zoomed in users then end up having to scroll around the page, sometimes having to rotate the device, just to see all of the content. The most likely outcome is that the one where the frustrated user abandons the incompatible website. If the content is of interest to them, they might think about revisiting the website next time they are on their PC… or they might have forgotten about your website by then as they have found the information on a mobile-friendly website which was easier to read and use.
Having a mobile friendly website is vital for any online business and will become even more important in the future as current trends are demonstrating. Whether you run a small blog, a local community site, a business site or an e-commerce platform – mobile usability is the key to success. In November 2016 global mobile and tablet internet usage surpassed that of desktops.
Google prefers mobile friendly websites
Make sure mobile users have a good experience when they visit your site. Google have been placing increased emphasis on the importance of mobile friendly websites. In March 2018 Google officially announced that they are migrating to Mobile-first indexing. The basic theory behind this move is that their ranking systems displayed the desktop version of a page’s content, which can often be different from the mobile version. This can impact on the user experience as mobile user may not see what they were expecting. With mobile-first indexing Google will use the mobile version of the page for both indexing and ranking, this strategy will help to ensure that users, predominantly mobile, find the information they were searching for.
How to start?
Deciding on the best option to make your website mobile-friendly depends on several factors. An example of some factors which should be considered are:
- New or existing website.
- Type of website or CMS.
- Budget and resources.
Many older websites, built using different coding languages, can require an amount of work to make them mobile-friendly. When building a new website, implementing a mobile-friendly design is easy.
Distinctive Media Solutions use and recommend WordPress. The self-hosted version, in our opinion, one of the most versatile and robust CMS platforms to build a website with. The vast number of themes and plugins available makes it easy to build and maintain almost any type of website. Using a responsive design WordPress theme is a cost effective way to ensure that your website functions correctly on both mobile and desktop browsers.
Mobile SEO Best Practices
Most well optimised websites do not need a lot of work. There are only a few things that you need to take into consideration when optimising for mobile devices. Read more about search engine optimisation.
Mobile friendly website configuration
Probably the most important decision you will need to make when developing up a website is whether you are going to opt for a responsive design, dynamic serving, AMP or a separate URL configuration. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Google prefers responsive design, but all the options mentioned can be used as long as the website is configured correctly. You can find more information about configuring websites for mobile-first indexing on the Google Developers website.
Mobile friendly site structure and navigation
Navigation is an important factor relating to mobile usability due to the screen size. Button sizes and menus need to be positioned with adequate spacing to facilitate a positive user experience on touchscreen devices.
Text on menus and call to action buttons or forms requires consideration as well, to ensure it is displayed correctly on mobile devices. This becomes more relevant especially when a website or app is multilingual. Localisation projects involve managing such issues as the word count of translated texts can generally expand by around 10% – 30%.
Page loading Speed
Because of hardware capabilities and mobile connectivity, page loading speed is more important for mobile users than desktop users. In addition to image optimisation, minification of code, browser cache, and reduce redirects are also required.
Optimisation of titles and meta descriptions
It is important to remember that you are working with less screen space when a user searches using a mobile device. To show off your best work in SERPS, be as concise as possible when creating a title, URL, and meta descriptions. If you are using separate URLs for desktop and mobile or a Dynamic serving configuration the meta descriptions should be the same.